Is. 22:1 The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?
Is. 22:2 Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.
Is. 22:3 All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far.
Isaiah has received yet another vision from the LORD. Most of the commentators reference the “valley of vision” as pertaining to Jerusalem since it is surrounded by mountains.
Psalm 125:2 As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.
The context of the rest of the chapter supports its application to the city of David.
Isaiah sees a time when the people of Jerusalem have been caused to go up to their housetops to see what is happening. “What aileth thee” is not in the Hebrew.
Evidently, what they see causes them to shout with a great uproar of joy. It seems a strange way to word it, but the joy appears to come from the fact that their men are not being killed on the battlefield. (Maybe this is a response to the lifting of the siege of Sennacherib.) The leaders of Jerusalem must have fled in fear from Jerusalem even as many from afar had fled to Jerusalem for safety.
Is. 22:4 Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.
Is. 22:5 For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains.
Isaiah, on the other hand, is not rejoicing. He is rejecting any attempt at comforting him. Why? Because he knows that Jerusalem and the people of Israel are facing future destruction, a time when the walls will be broken down and the cries of the people will reverberate from the mountains around Jerusalem.
Is. 22:6 And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield.
Elam is a reference to the area of today’s Iran, and Kir is a probable reference to the Syrians/Arameans. The armies that will come against Jerusalem will include the men of Elam who are evidently skillful archers even from a moving chariot or horse, and the men of Kir are the shield bearers ready to move in for close combat.
I couldn’t help but make a comparison with the way the enemy attacks the believer today. Sometimes he is taking aim from afar by placing temptations in front us with such skill and quickness that we hardly know how we got in such a position. Other times he moves in with close interaction to attack us where we are most vulnerable.
Is. 22:7 And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.
The enemy will come in great number in chariots and on horseback as they plan to enter the city gates.
Is. 22:8 And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the house of the forest.
Is. 22:9 Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are many: and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool.
Is. 22:10 And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall.
Is. 22:11 Ye made also a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool: but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago.
What does Isaiah see happening when the people are faced with the prospect of attack from the enemy? The people begin to prepare their own defense. Solomon had built a great armory to store the weapons for Israel’s army.
1Kings 7:2 He built also the house of the forest of Lebanon; the length thereof was an hundred cubits, and the breadth thereof fifty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits, upon four rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams upon the pillars.
1Kings 10:17 And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.
They take inventory of their armor; they check out the wall to identify the breaches (breaks, openings). They make safe the water supply. They assess the houses of Jerusalem to determine those that would be dismantled to fortify the wall. Yet, in all their preparation, the people ignore their strongest defense of all—God, their Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
That is so typical. We are so prone to independence and self-reliance. God wants us to be dependent upon Him. I don’t think it is wrong to use the brains and the wherewithal that God has given us, but we need to realize that our plans and preparations are useless without the blessing and provision of The Source—the One Who gives us wisdom and skill, strength and power, and blesses us materially.
Is. 22:12 And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:
Is. 22:13 And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.
When God sees His children in trouble, His desire is that they recognize their sin and helplessness—that they repent with sincerity and humility and turn to Him in faith as their God. What does God see in His people in Jerusalem? He sees them living in the here and now with a blasé attitude. God wants to see them repent and live.
Ezekiel 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.
Is. 22:14 And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
This is a very sad verse. It reminds me of the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness. They missed out on the blessing of entering the promised land because of sin and disobedience. A whole generation had to die before the nation could enter the promised land. As God looks on at this generation in Jerusalem, He declares that it is going to take death to purge the people of their sin and allow the next generation to turn back in faith and obedience to the God of Israel.
Is. 22:15 Thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, Go, get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say,
The time being referenced would be when Hezekiah was king as related in 2Kings 18 since Shebna was his treasurer.
Is. 22:16 What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock?
Isaiah goes to Shebna at the place where he is preparing a burial place for himself in the high places in the rock—a tomb in a location befitting a person of great importance. He was acting in pride and without regard to the responsibilities of his position. So many people, even Christians, get caught up in establishing themselves and accruing wealth and honor during their lives that they have no focus whatsoever on their eternal future. They lose sight of the fact that our life is but a vapor, and we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow.
James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
Is. 22:17 Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee.
Is. 22:18 He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord’s house.
Isaiah tells Shebna that God is going to be the One that decides where he dies. In fact, He is going to cause Shebna to be cast out of Jerusalem and be carried away into captivity, and he will die in captivity. The chariots that he used to ride around in pride in Jerusalem would serve as a reminder of the shame that he would ultimately suffer.
Is. 22:19 And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he pull thee down.
God is the One Who will remove Shebna from his privileged position.
We are a people created with the ability to make choices and certain determinations in life. Bottom line is that God is still sovereign and will impose His will and purpose through His chosen vessels/instruments in spite of our personal plans and choices.
Is. 22:20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:
Is. 22:21 And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
When God removes Shebna from his position, he will promote Eliakim to that position. Eliakim is identified as God’s servant, someone who will honor God in his position.
A person’s position could often be identified by what he wore. We know that Joseph’s “coat” identified him as the favorite of his father Jacob. The high priest was identifiable by his garments. The robe (in this verse) probably signified the position of scribe or at least a position of authority. The girdle was a symbol of strength and power and was used as a purse or a pocket for carrying things—such as money (Eerdman’s Dictionary). God is the One promoting Eliakim to the position of treasurer and its accompanying honor and authority.
Is. 22:22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
Possession of the key is a privilege of the position and a symbol of its authority. This type of phrasing is used in other areas of scripture to indicate position and authority.
Job 12:14 Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.
Matthew 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Eliakim is also a type of Jesus Christ according to the Apostle John.
Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth….
Is. 22:23 And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house.
Is. 22:24 And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.
God would ensure that Eliakim’s position would be secure. He would bring honor and glory to his father’s family and its future descendants.
Is. 22:25 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it.
“in that day” – This phrase is used three other times in this chapter (verses 8, 12, and 20). I think this reference goes back to when Jerusalem and the people of Israel will suffer at the hands of their enemies. Only then will Eliakim’s position become powerless regarding the treasures of the kingdom. God is clear in stating that He is the One Who will secure the nail in a sure place and also the One Who will remove it.